Wednesday, June 22, 2011

4th of July Cupcakes!

4th of July Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting topped with a Marshmallow Fondant Star
 The 4th of July is right around the corner! Today is my last day off before I begin my commute back to Virginia to start a 6 day trip.  My son was quite upset he was not allowed to chow on the Chocolate Whiskey cupcakes I made the other day, so to make it up to him, I made his favorite Red Velvet cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. 

You would never know from the looks of the landscape (flat as a pancake) here in west Texas that this is a high altitude area.  We are 3700 ft above sea level.    I have never had to bake in a high altitude kitchen before.  The last few batches I have made have been crumbly and never "popped" out of the tin.  I did some reading and found out that when you are baking in high altitude places you need to make a few minor adjustments.   has a chart of adjustments. I really didn't think minor adjustments would make that big of a deal but seeing is believing!
Popped Red Velvet Cupcakes
This is the Red Velvet recipe I followed (makes 1 dozen):
For the Cupcake:
1 ¼ Flour
¾ c sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 T cocoa powder
¾ cup oil
½ c buttermilk
1 large egg
2 T red food coloring
½ tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line pans with cupcake papers.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.
In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet a little at a time and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled (I just used 1 full ice cream scoop per regular sized cupcake and its perfect). Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through.  Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting:
8oz cream cheese (room temperature)
1 stick butter (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c confectionery sugar
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth.
Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated.
Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

I made a batch of marshmallow fondant about a year ago.  I remember that although it was extremely messy it was fairly easy. Marshmallow fondant tastes like those orange circus peanuts we used to eat as a kid.  This was the recipe I followed:

I knew what I wanted my cupcakes to look like but for the life of me I couldn't find a single small star out of the over 200 cookie cutters I had.  My son and I went off to the local Walmart in search of a small single star cookie cutter.  Unfortunately where we live the local Walmart has a very limited selection of anything you might need.  So as any great baker, I improvised! I went to the toy section in search of maybe a play-doh cutter.  No luck with that BUT I did find another alternative! Worked like a charm.

 This baking session worked out great! Happy holiday baking!

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